Game studio Electronic Arts has said in an interview that as a developer it had gained early access to the Sony’s next generation portable gaming device. The PSP2 has been rumored for some time, with the latest rumor saying that the device will have a larger display and touchpad and could have processing powers that rival the Xbox, which is not a portable gaming unit. Sony’s VP Patrick Soderlund said that “Obviously as a developer we have had that [access] — but I’m not allowed to talk about it.”
Despite confirming the PSP2, which some say will not be shipping until late 2011, Sony did not specify whether it was given access to early specifications for the device, was given an early look at a prototype, or was given access to a near-final build.
Whatever form the Sony PSP2 will launch as–when it does launch–it will need to compete against Nintendo’s DSi and 3DS models as well as Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone as portable gaming units. At the unveiling of the iPod Touch at Apple’s Fall Music Event, company CEO Steve Jobs has said that the iPod Touch is the most popular portable gaming device, saying that it bests the combined sales of its largest rivals in the gaming market, Nintendo and Sony. Apple’s advantage is that games are readily accessible anywhere there is wireless access thanks to a large catalog and its early implementation of the App Store. This allows for quick consumption and impulse purchases by users.
Sony is also rumored to be working on a Playstation Phone that will run on top of Android 3.0. Whether the PSP2 will share design, hardware specs, or features with the Playstation Phone is unclear at this point, but Sony could be going the way of its rival Apple and release a non-phone console like the iPod Touch and a phone console like the iPhone, both of which share the same catalog. This way, Sony can increase its market penetration depending on whether or not buyers need or want phone functionality to be integrated, and a larger user base will certainly attract more developers to create additional titles.
Note: Image used in this post is a render and not what the PSP2 will look like.